PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Neurologist Dr. Daniel Kantor spends a lot of time in his office these days.
"I probably spend over 20 hours a week just dealing with paperwork."
According to a recent survey by the Florida Medical Association, doctors all over the state are feeling the pressure of ever-changing healthcare regulations that lead to seemingly never-ending paperwork.
"Doctors really are being bogged down by different regulations from a federal point of view and from a state point of view," says Kantor, who is also the Vice President of the Duval County Medical Society.
The survey of 560 Florida doctors says a combination of the Affordable Care Act, insurance reform, and Florida's medical malpractice laws, is making it more and more difficult for doctors to spend quality time with their patients.
"This kind of leads to a vicious cycle where there are some regulations, and they're not sure if there are still the same regulations the next day or not, but what you do know is the patient still needs the care."
According to the first-ever FMA Business of Medicine Quarterly Index Survey, 45.5 percent of Florida's doctors are considering major changes to the way they practice in the next three years. Some will cut back on hours and patients, others won't take new patients, or plan to seek employment with hospitals or "concierge" practices instead of private practices. Still others plan to retire all together. The numbers could become troubling as Florida's population gets closer to 20 million.
"As more people come into the state, we're noticing we have less and less doctors to be able to see them."
The good news, Kantor says, is that doctors say they still want to treat patients rather than transition out of the industry. That's motivation for state healthcare leaders to look for ways to help doctor's provide quality care, and keep them from making drastic decisions.
The Florida Medical Association plans to repeat the survey every quarter to identify trends that can be shared with state and federal lawmakers.